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Consumer Reports Tests Pet GPS Tracking Systems

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Keeping track of things like your car keys and wallet are hard enough, but what about when the object you’re looking for is your lost four-legged friend?

Consumer Reports just tested three GPS devices to see how well they can track pets that wander off.

Jessie Nell runs a pet-sitting and grooming business. She also has pets of her own and said it’s not uncommon for a dog to run off.

“I get a real sick feeling in my stomach, but the best thing to do is just to breathe and not to panic,” Nell said.

Consumer Reports tested three GPS tracking devices to see if they could help find a runaway pet.

The systems tested were:

  • RoamEO for $200
  • Garmin GTU for $170
  • Tagg Pet Tracker for $100

With the Garmin and Tagg, you create virtual boundaries online, or what is called a “geofence.” Then, you can use your smartphone to keep tabs on your pet’s location. The RoamEO uses a radio handset.

“To test these, I had another engineer carry them around outside, and I tried to locate him,” Bernie Deitrick from Consumer Reports said.

The good news is that no engineer was lost during testing. However, testers did find pros and cons with each system.

RoamEO’s handset made it very easy to track.

“It had limited range – terrain and buildings could affect that – and it only had 24 hours of battery life,” Deitrick said.

Tracking with the Tagg was quick and easy, but its minimum virtual boundary is about four acres, which is much bigger than your average yard.

“Your dog could be next door digging up the flower bed, and you’d never know it,” Deitrick said.

With the Garmin you can create up to 10 different geofences at any size you wish. Location updates are quick if you use its deluxe tracking plan for an additional $5 a month.

“It’s easier to track, but battery life is shorter,” Deitrick said.

It just might be worth it. Especially when it comes to quickly finding a missing four-legged friend.

Both the Garmin and Tagg link to a cellphone network to relay information.

The Garmin uses AT&T’s and charges $50 annually after the first year.

The Tagg charges $7.95 per month after the first month to use Verizon’s network, so Consumer Reports said be sure to factor in those costs if you are considering getting one of these systems.

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